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Mastodon's Bill Kelliher reveals stories behind band's two new songs, "Fallen Torches" & "Rufus Lives"

Credit: Jimmy Hubbard

Mastodon‘s new rarities compilation Medium Rarities is stuffed with various covers, instrumentals, B-sides and live tracks. It also includes a brand new song called “Fallen Torches,” which guitarist Bill Kelliher tells ABC Audio was the result of Mastodon wanting to test out their newly built personal recording studio.

“We were just getting all the mics hooked up, and we still didn’t have all the acoustic treatments on the walls, but we were dying to try it out and record something,” Kelliher recalls.

Fittingly, some studio chicanery led to an unexpectedly psychedelic section in the middle of the song, that happened after Kelliher accidentally muted the recording’s drum track.

“I was, like, ‘This sounds really f***ing cool,'” Kelliher shares. “I don’t ever take Brann [Dailor‘s] drums away without him knowing or asking, so I immediately sent him a file, like, ‘Dude, what do you think about this?'”

Medium Rarities is out today, and Mastodon is also working on a new album to follow 2017’s Emperor of Sand. You might be able to glean a bit of what to expect from the fresh material from the band’s new song “Rufus Lives,” which is featured on the Bill & Ted Face the Music soundtrack.

Kelliher explains that Mastodon had just written the “Rufus Lives” instrumental track for the upcoming record when they got a call from the Bill & Ted team looking for something “fast-moving and rocking.” They then decided to write lyrics for the song based on the film, and titled it in honor of the late George Carlin‘s character from the first two Bill & Ted movies.

“[Carlin] was a really intelligent comedian, [we] lost him way too soon,” Kelliher says. “We just wanted to give a little ode to Rufus, ’cause he was such a cool character.”

By Josh Johnson
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